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LionKing

Need Advise on 10KW Infini/Schneider-Elec Setup

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Hi,
    I'm from Lahore, Pakistan and planning on setting up solar electricity for my house. The issues I need to address are Rolling blackouts (about 8 hours per day) and Electricity Bill offset using Solar. My plan is to go with a 10KW system, however, due to cost I think it will be better to get the Inverter + Batteries = UPS system setup for now. Then few months later add PV to the project.

Mains Supply: 230V 3-Phase - We don't have any 3P equipment though
Peak Load: 3 ACs (2KW each) + 800W of LED Bulbs + 500W of Fans + 500W Appliances (TV, Fridge,  Freezer) + Dishwasher (Peak draw 2400W, used once a day).
Note: All 3 ACs won't be running at the same time, max probably 2 ACs.

We basically have two main brands of Inverters available here: Infini and Schneider Electric (this being expensive). My concerns are:

1. Do they have same supported operation modes/scenarios, to me it appears as if Infini has more?
2. Is Schneider Electric much better than Infini, in terms of reliability and quality of Electricity output?
2. Infini has various models i.e. Infini, Plus, V, Super. Whats the difference between these since their website isn't clear about this?
3. Infini 10KW has 3 Phases (3.3KW per Phase) and because of the ACs the load is harder to split among the three phases. I read that the phases can be bridged, how does that work? 
4. If we bridge the phases, how would it affect the 3 incoming phases (from Grid) and Net-metering - since we're planning on taking advantage of that once we get PV setup.
5. I saw a video of Infini inverter and it was making a lot of noise. The person mentioned that the fans can be replaced to reduce noise, which fans (size) are needed and is it an easy task? Btw, I've done a lot of computer repair, so I'm comfortable opening stuff up.

Thanks!

 

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5 hours ago, LionKing said:

2. Is Schneider Electric much better than Infini, in terms of reliability and quality of Electricity output?

In my head I always placed the Schneider above the Infini, but it seems both manufacturers only have a 2 year warranty.

5 hours ago, LionKing said:

2. Infini has various models i.e. Infini, Plus, V, Super. Whats the difference between these since their website isn't clear about this?

The Infini Super is a cheaper model that has had some teething problems (in other words, the first adopters had some issues with them), but I can only speak from what I saw others write on this forum. As I recall the first models could not be grid-tied in South Africa either, didn't comply with the regulations. If the adage that one gets what you pay for is true, there must be a reason why the Infini Super is so much less expensive than the... well... the non-Super one :-) Just looking at local prices, it seems it's about half the price.

If those two are your only options, go with the one with the better support. I can't even find a price online for a Schneider locally, so I don't know.

5 hours ago, LionKing said:

4. If we bridge the phases, how would it affect the 3 incoming phases (from Grid) and Net-metering - since we're planning on taking advantage of that once we get PV setup.

If you plan on doing net-metering and feeding power into the grid, forget about bridging phases. Phase-bridging is a hack you use to turn the house into one single phase so you can power all the circuits with a single-phase inverter during a grid outage. It cannot work while the grid is working because the phases run 120 degrees out of sync (by design) and bridging them will be a dead short circuit. Basically... don't even think about this unless you have a rudimentary understanding of how 3-phase works.

Last question, which I have to ask. Are Victron inverters available in your country? Sounds to me like the price point might be similar to Schneider, and you get a much better warranty, plus they have proven themselves for working well in remote hard-to-reach places.

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6 hours ago, LionKing said:

Infini has various models i.e. Infini, Plus, V, Super. Whats the difference between these since their website isn't clear about this?

Morning Lion King - Welcome

Infinisolar Plus was the original implementation and comes in 3 flavours

  • 3kW  with 4.5kW PV there was also a 2kW but never imported into this country
  • 5kW with 10KWp
  • 10kW (3 phase) and 14kWp

Infinisolar V series is modeled  on an Axpert but has been given hybrid capability. They range from 1kW to a 5kW (which has a dual MPPT). I have only seen the 4kW imported into this country. A while back there was a Pakistani importer selling for about PKR 21000 for the 5kW version.

The Super is the latest version and is 4kW can be paralleled. There have been some teething problems in South Africa which the local importer is quick to address I would perhaps be wary of these units unless you have a reputable distributor in Pakistan.

 

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9 hours ago, plonkster said:

The Infini Super is a cheaper model that has had some teething problems (in other words, the first adopters had some issues with them), but I can only speak from what I saw others write on this forum. As I recall the first models could not be grid-tied in South Africa either, didn't comply with the regulations. If the adage that one gets what you pay for is true, there must be a reason why the Infini Super is so much less expensive than the... well... the non-Super one :-) Just looking at local prices, it seems it's about half the price.

 

7 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

Morning Lion King - Welcome

The Super is the latest version and is 4kW can be paralleled. There have been some teething problems in South Africa which the local importer is quick to address I would perhaps be wary of these units unless you have a reputable distributor in Pakistan.

 

Good Morning!

plonkster said that Infini Super is a cheaper model But Chris said that Super is the latest. I'm confused now? So its the latest model but a cheaper alternative to the Regular Infini?Assuming Super 4KW, I would need a parallel setup for it But I recall reading on this forum that Infini parallel functionality isn't that good? Would the Parallel setup work with 3-Phase Power Supply to the house OR should I just go with 10KW unit for now to avoid any issues? Btw, any Info about a newer 10KW unit coming out soon?
 

7 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

The Super is the latest version and is 4kW can be paralleled. There have been some teething problems in South Africa which the local importer is quick to address I would perhaps be wary of these units unless you have a reputable distributor in Pakistan.

Unfortunately, for Voltronic there isn't any solid distributor that i know of. Most are just small (2-3 person) installers, although there are a couple of companies that are selling Branded Infini inverters with their own logos on it as well. Would have to ask them about warranty/support.

Schneider Electric seems to have a much better presence - complete office and everything, however, they are quite a bit expensive - just the inverter, and then I have to get separate MPPT/charge controllers. I asked one installer to send me quote for a Schneider Electric system, I'll update on that.

 

9 hours ago, plonkster said:

If you plan on doing net-metering and feeding power into the grid, forget about bridging phases. Phase-bridging is a hack you use to turn the house into one single phase so you can power all the circuits with a single-phase inverter during a grid outage. It cannot work while the grid is working because the phases run 120 degrees out of sync (by design) and bridging them will be a dead short circuit. Basically... don't even think about this unless you have a rudimentary understanding of how 3-phase works.

Last question, which I have to ask. Are Victron inverters available in your country? Sounds to me like the price point might be similar to Schneider, and you get a much better warranty, plus they have proven themselves for working well in remote hard-to-reach places.

Good to know about Phase-Bridging. Does Parallel setup require 3 inverters for 3Phase power supply AND net-metering, or can I make do with 1 or 2 i.e. One a 3-Phase power supply, would 1P inverter be able to take advantage of net-metering?

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2 hours ago, LionKing said:

So its the latest model but a cheaper alternative to the Regular Infini?

Voltronic has a confusing array of inverters. They had the cheaper Axpert range, and the more expensive Infini range (which started life as an Imeon or so goes the story). Then they made one in the middle, and confusingly named it an Infini (although it's heritage is lower end) along with the moniker "Super" if you weren't confused enough yet. So yes, it's a newer model, but it slots in in the middle of the lineup.

2 hours ago, LionKing said:

Does Parallel setup require 3 inverters for 3Phase power supply AND net-metering, or can I make do with 1 or 2 i.e. One a 3-Phase power supply, would 1P inverter be able to take advantage of net-metering?

First, parallel doesn't really matter directly towards a 3-phase connection. It is very common to have inverters on just one phase, even to have two in parallel on just one phase. Think about it, even in areas where the houses have single-phase connections, the actual supply in the street is three phase. If one house has an inverter, even two in parallel... technically that's an inverter on just one phase.

Related to Net-metering, that depends on your supply authority. Most will bill you for the combined power across the three phases, so even feeding power into just one phase does help. But some also have regulations regarding balancing across the phases, when you feed in power they may expect you to keep it balanced, or at least keep it within 80% of each other. In those cases, you will have no choice but to install a three phase setup.

Back to paralleling. Some inverters do three-phase in a single unit. Some use a kind of paralleling where you link three units together, each supplying one of the phases. That's technically a kind of paralleling, except the units sync at 120 degrees apart. It is technically the same kind of thing.

And there is more to it. With the Victron inverters at least, if you connect a modbus current meter to it that measures all three phases, a single inverter on phase-1 can offset power on the other phases, again, as long as your supplier bills you on the total of the three.

So... lots of homework for you there :-)

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Thanks for the detailed explanation plonkster!

I did some digging and found this diagram - this visually clears things up a lot in terms of Parallel operation and Phases. The diagram is for axpert inverters (w/o PV), but I assume same will apply to Infini w/PV - the only thing different would be that Each Inverter will be connected to a separate PV array?

Btw, is One battery bank shared among all the inverters (as in the diagram)? If so, then how does charging work? is one inverter responsible for charging the battery bank or do all of them charge simultaneously? 

I'll ask local installer about net-metering, since I'm not sure about rules/regulations in my area.

parallel3.jpg

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4 hours ago, LionKing said:

the only thing different would be that Each Inverter will be connected to a separate PV array?

Each inverter has its own MPPT connected to its own PV array,

4 hours ago, LionKing said:

Btw, is One battery bank shared among all the inverters (as in the diagram)?

Correct,

4 hours ago, LionKing said:

is one inverter responsible for charging the battery bank or do all of them charge simultaneously? 

Battery charging and load output requirements is shared.

.

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Even the nicer meters rarely do more than 10 ampere. But then again, I rarely need to measure that kind of current with a DMM.

One day when my ship comes in, and I can somehow justify it, I'll get a Fluke. Right now I have a middle of the range Uni-T. It does 10 amps max... it's always been more than sufficient. Even if I did measure PV current with it, I usually work with strings that make around 8 ampere Isc, so hardly a problem. And anything more than that, especially at higher voltages... you don't want to go sticking multimeters into sockets and making long arcs anyway.

 

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22 hours ago, plonkster said:

... you don't want to go sticking multimeters into sockets and making long arcs anyway.

 

:D been there...... Waited till sunset to test but there was still enough juice to give me an impressive arc. The staff on the farm were very impressed - "Yoh - uyachokka"

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I got a quote for Schneider Electric and its quite expensive so I'm crossing that one of the list. Found another shop that's selling couple of other brands of hybrid inverters:

http://www.buysolar.pk/shop/solar-inverter/stecagrid-10000-3ph-hybrid/
http://www.buysolar.pk/shop/solar-inverter/baykee-5kw-mppt-solar-hybrid-inverter/

Stecagrid is German btw, however, I can't find much information/reviews on either of these?

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On 4/14/2018 at 4:10 AM, LionKing said:

Stecagrid is German btw

The information I have, which I have not confirmed, is that Stecca is now a reseller for at least some Voltronic equipment. A quick on their website does seem to show that the SolarPix inverter is a rebadged Axpert/MPPSolar. Since that is what you were looking for anyway that might be a good way to get it.

But don't bank too much on them being "German" :-)

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